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MTN Mulls N3.50 Interim Dividend amid Drop in Profit

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Shareholders of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc will get the sum of N3.50 paid to them for each of the company’s stock in their possession.

MTN Mulls N3.50 Interim Dividend amid Drop in Profit

This is what the board of the telco is proposing to pay as an interim dividend for the half-year ended June 30, 2020.

This information was contained in the financial statements of the organisation submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The interim dividend is subject to appropriate deduction of withholding tax and will be paid to shareholders whose names appear in the register of members as at the close of business on August 14, 2020, MTN Nigeria said.

Also, it stated that the register of members will be closed from August 17, 2020, while the cash reward would be paid electronically directly to bank accounts of shareholders on August 24, 2020.

In the period under review, MTN Nigeria increased its revenue by 12.5 per cent to N638.1 billion from N567.0 billion in the corresponding period of last year.

The 15.6 per cent growth in the mobile subscriber base of MTN Nigeria to 71.1 million provided support for the 2.8 per cent rise in the voice revenue, which contributed 67.9 per cent to the service revenue of N637.0 billion versus N565.9 billion in H1 2019.

Also, data revenue, which accounted for 24.2 per cent of the service turnover, grew in the period by 57.6 per cent to N154.1 billion from N97.8 billion in the first six months of 2019.

According to the telco, this significant increase in data consumption of its customers was achieved through improved 4G penetration and enhanced network capacity to support traffic growth due to the lockdown imposed on Lagos, Abuja and Ogun State in the most part of the second quarter of the year by the federal government.

In the period under review, 4.0 million new smartphones were added to MTN Nigeria network, bringing the smartphone penetration to 43.5 per cent on its base.

Also, in the first half of 2020, the digital revenue of MTN Nigeria continued to rise, with digital offerings recording a growth of 121.8 per cent and this was because of the uptake of its digital products and services.

In addition, fintech revenue recorded a growth of 29.6 per cent, driven by the airtime lender platform called MTN Xtratime as well as the agent network. The total number of transactions processed by its agents during the period was over 14.6 million.

For capital expenditure, there was a 20.9 per cent decline to N76.0 billion because of slower site rollout caused by port congestion, movement restriction and scarcity of foreign exchange.

Also, the pre-tax profit of MTN Nigeria dropped 2.0 per cent as a result of an increase in finance costs from higher borrowing. In the first half of the year, the company issued a N100 billion commercial paper at 5.74 per cent, allowing the firm to widen its sources of funding.

In addition, the post-tax profit and earnings per share (EPS) depreciated by 4.7 per cent respectively, reflecting an increase in taxation mainly due to lower investment allowance and exempt income.


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NCC Says 78.9m Nigerians now Connected to Broadband

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Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the number of Nigerians connected to high-speed internet rose to 78.9 million in June.

NCC Says 78.9m Nigerians now Connected to Broadband

Prof Umar Danbatta, EVC, NCC

The data from the commission showed that telecommunications operators in the country added 2.2 million customers to their broadband database in the month to raise the figure from 76.6 million recorded in May.

This raised the country’s broadband penetration from 40.14 per cent in May to 41.27 per cent at the end of June.

The steady growth in penetration has been attributed to the telecoms operators’ aggressive push for deployment of 4G service across the country. To extend the service to more Nigerians, the largest mobile network operator in the country, MTN, recently announced more investments targeted at building more 4G infrastructure

MTN said it planned to spend an estimated N600 billion on technical infrastructure over the next three years as it looks to expand its 4G coverage across the entire country by 2024

The Federal Government also recently launched a new National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) with a target of achieving 70 per cent penetration in the next five years.

This followed the expiration of the NBP 2013-2018, which delivered 31 per cent penetration as of December 2018.

Aside from the 70 per cent penetration target, the government in the new plan also raised the benchmark speed for broadband service in Nigeria to 25 megapixels per second, which is an improvement from the 1.5mbps benchmark in the 2013-2018 plan.


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Gilat Telecom, Spacecom, Unite to Bolster Satellite Services in Africa

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Spacecom, operator of the AMOS satellites fleet, and Gilat Telecom, a connectivity service provider, have announced a collaboration “to develop a faster, more reliable and more cost-effective satellite service for organisations of all sizes across Africa.”

The service uses Spacecom’s AMOS-17 fully digital and advanced High Throughput Satellite (HTS) on both C and Ku band, and Gilat Telecom’s unique SD-WAN MAX technology.

The companies add that the service, available immediately, can be used for home and office connectivity including video conferences, e-health applications, e-learning, e-education, etc.

They add that the collaboration will benefit African MNOs and ISPs in several ways including CAPEX savings and higher throughput at reduced operational costs.

“Spacecom’s AMOS-17’s HTS fully digital payload enables cross-connection between all beam and all bands enabling the use of existing equipment which can also be set-up remotely by the end customers (on existing or new terminals). Using Gilat Telecom’s intelligent routing, capacity can be expanded by up to 20% (the equivalent of 6 Mbit/s can be achieved from a 5 Mbit/s downlink),” the companies state.

Another benefit is smart traffic management. The companies explain: “Gilat Telecom’s SD-WAN enables service providers and MNOs to centrally control the route that both satellite and fiber traffic takes to and from the customer.

It enables different applications – voice, streaming, caching (Facebook, Netflix, Microsoft cloud services etc.) – to be identified with automatic prioritisation, according to the customer’s needs and demands.”

Dan Zajicek, Spacecom’s CEO said: “This partnership enables us to boost the services offered to customers along with fast returns on investments to these growing markets. We are sure this fruitful cooperation will lead us to many great business opportunities in Africa.”

Asaf Rosenheck, Gilat Telecom’s CEO also said, “We are an innovative company always focused on how we can improve the service we provide to our customers. Our partnership with Spacecom demonstrates how we work across the ecosystem to drive down costs and improve capacity”.


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Encomiums as Sonny Aragba-Akpore Bows Out of NCC

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It was encomiums galore recently as Management and Staff of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) bid the Commission’s Head of Media Management and Public Relations, Sonny Aragba-Akpore, farewell following his retirement.

Aragba-Akpore, former Information and Communications Technology/News editor at the Guardian Newspaper, joined the service of the Commission in 2014.

Speaking at the valedictory party held in his honour on Thursday, which was attended physically and virtually by staff of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, appreciated the level of professionalism Aragba-Akpore brought to bear on his work at the Commission.

Represented at the event by Abigail Sholanke, director, Projects, Danbatta commended Aragba-Akpore for using his many years of industry experience and knowledge as a media professional and corporate communication manager to create a robust relationship with both mainstream and online media stakeholders, which, he said, has contributed significantly to the overall positive image and favourable public perception of NCC.

“On behalf of the Board, Management and Staff of Commission, we wish you a successful retirement and fruitful engagements in your future endeavours,” Danbatta said.

In his remarks, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde, director, Public Affairs Department,  said “within the short time I worked with Mr. Aragba-Akpore, I found him to be a man of uncommon passion for his work,” describing him as a very committed and hardworking colleague.

“We, therefore, wish you increased divine favour, as you retire from the services of the Commission.”

Other staff of the Commission, including directors, deputy directors, middle management staff, among others, took turns to talk about the favourable working relationship they had with Aragba-Akpore while at the NCC and wished him well in his retirement life.

Responding, Aragba-Akpore expressed gratitude to the Management and Staff of the Commission for their support and cooperation during his service and for organising a befitting valedictory ceremony in his honour, saying he enjoyed working with the NCC.

“This is one event I will not forget in a hurry. Indeed, I feel I am very lucky and singularly blessed and very appreciative of the privilege to work with a leading telecoms regulator like the NCC. For me, it is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he said.


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